Tiruchirapalli

Tamil inscription throws light on philanthropy of Chola king’s maid

The inscription at Maatrurai Varadeeswarar Temple at Thiruvasi near Tiruchi.  

A lengthy inscription of Rajaraja Chola I period has been copied from Sri Maatrurai Varadeeswarar Temple at Thiruvasi near Tiruchi by R. Akila, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Arignar Anna Government Arts College, Musiri, and M. Nalini, Head of the Department of History, Seethalakshimi Ramasami College.

The 293 lines Tamil inscription was found on the western face of the second gopura of the temple, according to R. Kalaikkovan, Director, Dr. M.Rajamanikkanar Centre for Historical Research.

Mr. Kalaikkovan said the inscription revealed interesting details on temple activities and staff of different categories. A maid attached to Periya Velam (bigger quarters) of the palace of Rajaraja I, Nakkan Karpagavalli, gifted 201 kalanju of gold to the temple treasury along with certain measure of fertile land that would provide 16 kalam of paddy every year to support the five endowments that were arranged by her at the temple.

The gold was shared by 28 workers of two temples among which 23 belonged to Thiruvasi temple and the remaining five to Amalisvaram, another temple of the same village. It was done with an understanding that one kalam of paddy was to be measured as interest for every kalanju of gold per year to the temple. The arrangement provided 201 kalam of paddy every year.

Two of Karpagavalli’s endowments provided for early morning sacred food for the presiding and processional deities of Thiruvasi temple. She made two other endowments: one to cover the grand festival planned by her for Thaippusam and the other on the day of her natal star Karthikai in the Tamil month of Karthikai at the temple.

On the day of Thaippusam, after the special service, midday meal was served to 50 Sivayogins and 50 thapasvins. Another endowment covered the annual repairs and maintenance of the big hall in the temple where all festivities were conducted.

The most interesting aspect of the inscription was that it provided a list of names of several artists and artisans attached to the temples of Thiruvasi and Amalisvaram during that period. The list included thalaikkoli (dance experts), gandharvas (instrumentalists and singers), drummers, devaradiyars, paricharakas, gem specialists, torch bearers, carpenter and astrologer. All of them shared the gifted gold among themselves and measured paddy as per the share to the temple treasury every year. The meal endowments of Karpagavalli took care of temple servants such as cooks, paddy cleaners, grain pounders, fire wood collectors and those involved in other temple services, Mr. Kalaikkovan said.


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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 4:14:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/inscription-throws-light-on-philanthropy-of-chola-kings-maid/article37176527.ece

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